Player Wages

Selecting Contract from the Players drop-down menu when viewing your squad will display basic details of each player's contract. Ordering players by squad status and wage will give you an idea of your club's current wage structure and will help you when attempting to implement and maintain your own structure. This will also highlight who the highest earners at the club are and therefore which players in your squad need to be performing at the highest levels in order to justify their larger salaries. Ordering players by contract expiry date (the expires column) meanwhile, will aid you in seeing which players may need to either have their contracts renewed soon, or perhaps instead be sold on in order to make the club a profit.

The Salary tab on the Finances screen, accessed from your club's Boardroom tab, will show you your wage budget, as set by your Board, and what your current wage total is. You will need to stay within budget in order to keep your Board happy, with the Board's happiness with your control of wages being shown on the Confidence section of the Boardroom tab. The Finances screen will also show you details of the wages being paid to players with each squad status (in the minimum, average, maximum and total columns), along with the maximum wage allowed by your Board for each status (in the allowed column). You can alter these limits if you need to by using the Budget Adjustment slider on the Overview section of the Boardroom tab.

Wage Structure

Implementing a wage structure means paying each player a wage according to his importance to the team. You should therefore give each player a squad status that accurately reflects his importance, and then decide on an appropriate average wage for players with each squad status, taking into account your wage budget and overall financial situation. Although, you should also consider your ambitions for your club’s future improvement and success, which may require you to spend more on wages but could also bring in the additional income to finance this extra expenditure if success is achieved.

Maintaining a wage structure will require you to be disciplined and avoid signing players who demand wages in excess of the caps you put in place. Your options in the transfer market will therefore be limited. However, offering more in agent fees, loyalty bonuses and other bonuses and clauses can help you to sign players on lower wages than they initially demand, as explained in more detail in the Contract Negotiations guide.

Benefits of a Wage Structure

A good wage structure can offer the following significant benefits:

  • It will help prevent players becoming unhappy and requesting a wage rise because a teammate with the same squad status or similar ability has much higher wages. It will therefore also help prevent wages spiralling out of control as a result.
  • Restricting players’ wages to more affordable levels will make players easier to sell, thus helping you to make a profit from them at the right time, either when they reach their peak, when you decide to cash in on them rather than meet their increased contract demands, or simply when there is a high level of interest in a player.
  • It will keep your finances healthy, ultimately enabling you to spend money elsewhere, such as on facility improvements or on transfers.

Setting a Wage Structure

As outlined in the Squad Building guide, your first team squad should ideally be comprised of four to five key players, six to seven first team and nine to eleven rotation and lower. As well as making it easier to give players a sufficient number of matches during the season, having three different squad status “groups” set up in this way forms a good basis for implementing a wage structure based on squad statuses.

Players in your reserve and youth teams should only account for up to 10% of your total wage budget, after deducting any wages being paid by clubs who have loaned players. If you believe that your finances are healthy enough to use up all of the wage budget set by your Board, then this leaves about 90% of your budget to be allocated to the first team squad, among each of the three groups described above. The easiest way to do this if you have the above setup is to allow each group to share approximately equal amounts, meaning that they will each account for 30% of your total wage budget.

Therefore, if your budget is £1,000,000 and you have four key players, then the average wage paid to each key player should be £75,000 ((£1,000,000 x 30%) ÷ 4). This does not mean that you are limited to only paying a key player up to £75,000, as you could have one player on £90,000, one on £80,000, one on £70,000 and the other on £60,000. It would be advisable though, to try to set a wage cap so that you do not exceed the target average due to paying too much to one player. Using these figures as an example, the wage cap could be set at £90,000 for the most important key player, equivalent to 20% above the target average, as long as the other key players are paid less in order to keep the average down. Similarly, if you have seven first team players then they could be paid an average of about £43,000 each, while eleven players with squad statuses of rotation and below could be paid £27,000 each on average.

Reviewing Your Wage Structure

At the end of each season you should review your squad for any players who have underperformed and not justified their squad status and wage. Such players may need to be sold on in order to ensure that you continue to only pay players what they are worth to the team. Also, any players who have seen their place in the team taken by someone else or who are physically in decline may need to be sold if you are unable to offer them lower wages with a lesser squad status.

In addition, unless you manage a top team, it will be necessary to review your wage structure as your team progresses and improves. For example, if your team has just been promoted then you will probably need to pay higher wages in order to attract better players and compete at a higher standard. Similarly, if you are expecting to have to play more fixtures during the next season, for instance after qualifying for European competition, you might need to bring in more players to the squad and so will need to spend more on wages. As long as your club continues to perform well though, this success should pay for any reasonable increases in wage spending.

However, you will still need to be careful when breaking your current wage structure, especially if you believe that signing high calibre new players and paying higher wages is a necessary step to make first in order for your club to make any progress. Firstly, you should consider whether your club’s finances are healthy and try to ensure that yearly profits are being made. Furthermore, it is important that finances will continue to be strong in the future, either through success on the pitch, through making money on transfers or perhaps by moving into a bigger stadium. In addition, any players that you bring in on higher wages will need to be at least as good as, and preferably better than, those already in your squad, or your current players may request wage rises leading to wages increasing even more. In particular, you should make sure that none of your current players have a match highest earner clause as if they do then their wages will automatically increase to match.

Increasing Your Wage Budget

By employing a healthy transfer policy of signing cheaper young players and selling them on for a profit in the future, say when they reach their peak, you will be able to restrict your transfer spending and therefore increase the amount that you can afford to pay players and the wage budget that the Board will offer you. Ultimately, you may even be able to make a net profit on transfers each season.

Since you will need less money for transfers you will be able to increase your wage budget at the expense of your transfer budget by going to the Overview section of your club's Boardroom tab, then clicking Edit Budgets on the Budget Adjustment panel. You can then move the slider as far to the left as you can afford to reduce your transfer budget by.

You will therefore be able to raise the limits of your wage structure, giving you more options in the transfer market and enabling you to bring in higher calibre players.

You may also be able to increase your wage budget as you improve your club's stature and finances by making a request to the Board on the Board Meeting section of the Boardroom tab.

Renewing Contracts

For promising young players and most first-team players it would be advisable to look at renewing contracts when they have two years remaining and to try to tie players down to deals for as long as possible. Deciding whether to renew a player's contract at this point as opposed to later on will allow you to assess whether it is financially beneficial to keep the player on or not before his potential selling price falls as his contract gets closer to expiry. If a player is asking for a substantial increase in his wages, particularly if this breaks your wage structure, then it may be preferable to sell him when he still has two years remaining on his contract. However, you should still consider whether you can offer the player a lower wage than demanded as explained in the Contract Negotiations guide. You also have the option to ask a player to Reduce Wage Demands in the Contract Status category of his Private Chat.

For players nearing the end of their career you can offer new contracts later and should consider including a one-year extension clause.

Further Reading

Inverting the Pyramid - guaranteed to give you a greater tactical knowledge and understanding.

The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football's Leaders - learn how to think like a football manager.

Will You Manage? - tells you the skills needed to be a great manager and gives essential tips for fantasy football success.

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